The Russell Wharf greets visitors in a much friendlier style after a grand community effort to improve the shabby marine gateway to the picturesque historic settlement.

The old wharf that leads on to Cass St now boasts a sweeping set of steps down to the beach, as well as a more fitting meeting with the shore.

Although the refurbishment is not yet finished, it looks a million bucks - but has cost $110,000, less than half the estimated $250,000.

It has taken hard yakka and lots of combined skill by local tradies and other workers.

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The project has been 25 years, and yet only months, in the making. Prettying up the tired wharf was a major focus of a community group back in the 1990s, which struggled to gain wholesale acceptance for its proposal. Fast forward about 23 years and along came another group with no opposition to its plans.

After 18 months of fundraising, working with the Far North District Council on compliance, and tee-ing up skills to coincide with tides and the post-summer tradies' slump, the job of building the steps and strengthening the street end of the wharf was done at a cracking pace.

"These guys have just rolled up their sleeves and got on with it. Their attention to detail has been phenomenal. The community just couldn't be prouder of the result," said Russell Waterfront and Wharf Trust chairman Riki Kinnaird.